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Glam up for a good cause by Andrea Kellett

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The 2017 Achieving with Autism Gala Dinner is the major annual fundraiser for the award winning Abacus Learning Centre in Hastings – Australia’s first centre-based ABA therapy, enabling children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to reach their fullest potential.

On Saturday, August 5, the Gala Dinner will be staged in The Peninsula Room at Mornington Racecourse and it’s a classy line-up of entertainment, food, drink, dancing and more.

It’s a great reason to shop for a new cocktail dress or lounge suit in support of, essentially, an organisation that’s improving lives.

Abacus Learning Centre executive director Lauren Moore says funds raised are vital for the ongoing success of the centre. This year’s target is $50,000. “The funds go towards subsidising early intervention costs for parents as well as purchasing new therapy equipment, and upgrades around the centre such as a reverse-cycle airconditioner for our gross motor and lunch room. It also allows us to put time into developing new services to assist with the diverse enquiries for services we receive from families in the autism community,” she says.

A highlight of the night, Lauren explains, is a personal account from an Abacus parent. “We have a parent whose child is currently attending Abacus or have completed an ABA program with us. It is a wonderful journey that parents generously share, and guests are always overwhelmed and overjoyed with each story that has been told.”

Organisers have secured Josh Earl as host (Josh is an award winning comedian and host of TV show Spicks and Specks) and live music by Fudge (one of Melbourne’s best-loved cover bands, playing big hits and classic anthems). There will also be an online auction by BalaBid, with auction items and raffle tickets online from July 22 – August 5.

Tickets cost $120 per person, which includes a welcome drink, canapés and two-course meal. Buy yours at

*Organisers are also seeking auction donations, raffle prizes and event sponsorship. Find out more at

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